Why community creates economic value

Connections-Index[1]

Relationships matter. There’s great evidence that shows how good relationships keep you healthy longer, and I vaguely remember studying Michael Porter’s clustering theory to explain the success of small Italian firms.

In a recent blog on collaboration and school improvement Tom Welch quotes a brilliant explanation from Neil Mercer’s book Word and Minds for why community connections are so crucial to innovation:

‘explosions of literature, art, science and technology, which occur in particular places at particular times, represent more than coincident collections of individual talent: they represent the building of communities of enquiry and practice which enable their members to achieve something greater than any of them ever could alone.’

That great phrase “communities of enquiry and practice” sums up what Raw Talent should be: A community of peers that creates a safe space for enquiry into the world of work and  practice of new skills through real life challenges and personal reflection.

If we get this right, it doesn’t just work for young people at school, it becomes a model for a learning community that can help all of us, at any age, develop our talents. As the pace of technological change shows no sign of slowing, that’s something we all have to get better at.

But more that that, as Mercer captures so well, such a community of enquiry and practice is the means to “achieve something greater” than we ever could alone. What that something greater could be I can’t say, but I hope that the graduates of Raw Talent will be the ones to make it happen.

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